Sudan: How Much Freedom Does Omar al Bashir Have?

Some days, it seems like the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir hasn’t prevented him from traveling at all: since the ICC issued the warrant, Bashir has visited Eritrea, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Kenya, and elsewhere.

Other days, it looks like the chances that someone will arrest Bashir are growing: threats of arrest and the withdrawal of invitations have led Bashir to cancel planned trips to Turkey and Uganda. Organizers moved a recent meeting of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development from Kenya to Ethiopia after the ICC put pressure on Kenya to arrest Bashir. And now Bashir has missed two other summits, one in Libya and one in the Central African Republic.

On Wednesday, judges at the International Criminal Court…warned the Central African Republic that it was obliged by treaty to arrest him should he arrive on its territory. Mr. Bashir…abruptly canceled his planned trip to attend the Central African Republic’s independence celebrations on Wednesday. He was also forced to stay away from the 80-nation African-European summit meeting in Libya, which ended Tuesday, after a number of European nations had informed the Libyan government that they would not attend the meeting if Mr. Bashir were present.

Bashir still has serious support in Africa. At the summit in Libya, the AU “called for the suspension of ICC proceedings against the Sudanese president and the lifting of international sanctions against Khartoum.” But international organizations like Amnesty International now view Bashir’s eventual arrest as inevitable.

Amnesty International’s senior legal advisor, Christopher Keith Hall, says it is only a matter of time.

“These are crimes which have no statute of limitations,” Hall said. “Once the arrest warrant has been issued, that will be there for as long as it takes for justice to be done.”

Pressure from the ICC and groups like Amnesty seems to be having a major affect on Sudan’s neighbors. Whether that means Bashir’s days as a free man are numbered or not, it does look as though his freedom of movement will be increasingly circumscribed as time goes on.

2 thoughts on “Sudan: How Much Freedom Does Omar al Bashir Have?

  1. On UN negotiating with Shabab: it will not work as they are seeking power only. Complicated and no solution in sight. However, the UN negotiating might just given Shabab the wrong signal.

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